1. Introduction

In this article, we present an overarching analysis of the fundamental components of Norwayʼs newly enacted Transparency Act and the international principles and already existing voluntary international guidelines that have influenced the Act. We discuss the Actʼs potential to drive meaningful corporate change and enhance accountability for protection of human rights and working conditions in international supply chains.

This article introduces the international trend of corporate social responsibility regulations in section 2, and we present selected international principles and frameworks that form the basis for the Transparency Act in section 2.1. Subsequently, the main features of the Transparency Act are presented in section 3. In section 4, we engage in a comparison of the Actʼs stipulations with select components from international CSR frameworks to evaluate their effectiveness. Finally, in section 5, we synthesize our findings and draw conclusions regarding the inquiries addressed throughout the article.

2. International Development of Corporate Social Responsibility Regulations

The status of human rights and working conditions within Norway and the EU is among the best in the world. Nonetheless, many Norwegian enterprises are multinational and conduct their business globally. Complex, international value chains contribute to adverse impact on fundamental human rights and decent working conditions, especially when they involve developing countries or high-risk sectors.

Several international organisations such as the United Nations (UN), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have been taking action to promote responsible business conduct. However, such soft law regimes have not adequately mitigated adverse impacts caused by multinational companies.

Like several other European and Western countries, Norway has recently implemented new legislation to address these issues, and the new Norwegian Transparency Act is to a large extent influenced by international principles and frameworks.

Research shows that there are still extensive issues related to forced labour, slavery, dangerous working conditions and other forms of human rights violations in global trade. Most violations take place in developing countries without effective local regulations.

Multinational enterprises based in developed countries are subject to strict legislation on working conditions and protection of human rights. The same enterprises may, however, contribute to violations through their international operations. National legislation has limited jurisdiction on violations abroad and established legal principles limit companiesʼ responsibility for operations taking place in separate legal entities where they have insufficient proximity to the actions. In addition to the issues of jurisdiction and liability, companies may be unable to prevent violations due to limited knowledge of the conditions in their foreign value chains. This practice is hard to turn around due to the complexity of global trade and the lack of regulations that effectively target these issues. The current structures enable western companies to contribute to violations of fundamental rights with limited accountability.

Currently there is no binding international legal instrument that effectively regulates corporate social responsibility across national borders. There have been several international initiatives which have led to frameworks such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (the OECD Guidelines) and the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the UNGP). However, none of these initiatives have successfully managed to impose legal obligations on multinational companies.

National initiatives have increased as developed countries are preparing internal legislation on corporate social responsibility. France, UK, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland, Finland, Australia, and USA are just some of them. The EU has also implemented various legislative acts on the matter and is currently working on a directive that will require enterprises to perform due diligence assessments and implement measures to safeguard human rights, labour rights and the environment (the proposed CSDD Directive).

In Norway, certain requirements have now become legally binding under the new Norwegian Transparency Act that entered into force 1 July 2022. The purpose of the Transparency Act is to promote enterprisesʼ respect for fundamental human rights and decent working conditions when producing goods and services, and to secure access to information on how businesses deal with adverse impacts on human rights and working conditions.

2.1 International Developments and Their Impact on the Transparency Act

The increased global focus on corporate responsibility through voluntary frameworks has had little impact on Norwegian enterprises. Research discussed in the preparatory works to the Transparency Act showed that international initiatives such as the UNGP and OECD Guidelines were not well known for a large percentage of Norwegian enterprises and that only about fifty percent of the 600 asked Norwegian enterprises were performing some sort of due diligence assessments. Only two percent of the business leaders reported that they know the UNGP and OECD Guidelines well.

The Norwegian Government therefore decided to implement legislation that would make compliance with such requirements mandatory. Legislative measures and the possibility to sanction non-compliance were considered necessities to improve enterprisesʼ social conduct.

In order to better understand the international landscape, a brief overview of the UNGP and the OECD Guidelines has been provided below as they are important sources for the interpretation of the Transparency Act. The legislator states that the UNGP and the OECD Guidelines were fundamental sources of inspiration for the Transparency Act, and the Transparency Act explicitly requires that the due diligence is performed in accordance with the OECD Guidelines.

2.1.1 The UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights

The UNGP were published by the UN in 2011. The UN had since the 1970s worked with adopting a treaty regulating multinational enterprisesʼ social responsibility for human rights. After it became clear that a treaty would not be possible due to various disagreements between developed and developing countries, the UN Human Rights Council reopened the work in the beginning of the 2000s and in 2011 it formally endorsed the UNGP. The UNGP are not legally binding for multinational enterprises.

2.1.2 The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises

Established in 1976 (last updated in 2023), the OECD Guidelines are a set of recommendations on corporate social responsibility. They are intended to be coherent with the UNGP, and currently around 50 states have committed to the OECD Guidelines. As part of this commitment, the states also agreed to establish a national contact point to promote the guidelines and contribute to resolve conflicts of alleged violations of the guidelines. For enterprises the OECD Guidelines are not legally binding for multinational enterprises.

The UNGP and OECD Guidelines set in essence the same requirements for companies. However, the OECD Guidelines go further than the UNGP. In addition to the human rights chapter, the OECD Guidelines also contain recommendations on other areas such as employment and industrial relations, environment, anti-corruption, consumer interests, science and technology, competition and taxation.

2.1.3 Legislative Acts on Corporate Social Responsibility in the EU

The EU has implemented several regulations addressing corporate social responsibility, such as the EU Taxonomy, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, and the Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation, as well as sector- and product-specific legal acts such as the regulation on conflict minerals and the proposal for rules on deforestation-free supply chains. The EU Taxonomy includes a requirement on compliance with the OECD Guidelines and UNGP for an economic activity to qualify as environmentally sustainable under the regulation.

The proposed CSDD Directive is currently under discussion and has a similar approach as the Transparency Act as it includes a duty for large enterprises to carry out due diligence assessments and implement measures to safeguard human rights, employee rights, as well as the environment. The goal of the CSDD Directive is to contribute to responsibility and sustainability from companies in all stages of their value chains.

The current proposal is that the CSDD Directive will enter into force gradually over four years for enterprises in the EU. It is estimated that only around 250 Norwegian enterprises will be covered by the CSDD Directive.

3. Introduction to the Norwegian Transparency Act

3.1 Background and Purpose

The Transparency Act provides a framework for public companiesʼ and large enterprisesʼ efforts to respect fundamental human rights and decent working conditions. Multinational enterprises can at times be in a better position to make positive impacts than local authorities. The main purpose of the Transparency Act is to promote enterprisesʼ respect for human rights and working conditions through a duty to obtain knowledge about the conditions both in Norway and abroad, and to communicate information to the public. According to the Norwegian Ethics Information Committee that was established to submit a legislative proposal for the Transparency Act, transparency is a key factor for improvements of conditions in global value chains. In its report, the Norwegian Ethics Information Committee pointed at issues of absence of information and statistics about conditions in global supply chains and insufficient research, knowledge about patterns and structures of global value chains as important factors for the lack of responsibility and efforts to make improvements. Rules on public disclosure and communication were therefore introduced and considered fundamental for achieving the objective of improving enterprisesʼ work with protecting human rights and ensuring decent working conditions.

The Transparency Act grants the Consumer Authority a supervisory role to ensure compliance with its obligations.

3.2 Fundamental Human Rights and Decent Working Conditions

The Transparency Act relates specifically to ‘fundamental human rightsʼ and ‘decent working conditionsʼ both of which are wide and flexible terms. The Act defines fundamental human rights as the internationally recognised human rights that are set out in, among others, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and the ILOʼs core conventions on fundamental principles and rights at work. Decent working conditions are defined as work that safeguards fundamental human rights, health, safety and environment in the workplace and that provides a living wage. The definitions are not exhaustive, and which human rights are relevant to focus on must be assessed individually and will vary from enterprise to enterprise.

3.3 Enterprises Subject to the Transparency Act

The Transparency Act applies to larger enterprises that are resident in Norway and that offer goods and services in or outside Norway. The Transparency Act also applies to larger foreign enterprises that offer goods and services in Norway, and that are liable to tax to Norway pursuant to internal Norwegian legislation.

The Act defines a ‘larger enterpriseʼ as enterprises subject to § 1-5 of the Accounting Act, or enterprises that on the date of financial statements exceed the thresholds of at least two out of the three following conditions: (i) sales revenues over 70 MNOK; (ii) a balance sheet total over 35 MNOK; (iii) employed 50 full-time equivalents in the financial year. Parent companies are considered “larger enterprises” if the conditions are met for the parent company and its subsidiaries taken together. It is estimated that approximately 9 000 Norwegian enterprises fall within the scope of the Transparency Act.

The established consolidation rule is intended to prevent that enterprises which fall within the scope of “larger enterprise” circumvent the application of the Transparency Act by organising themselves in certain manners, for instance by reducing the operations in the Norwegian parent company to administrative functions and moving actual operations into foreign subsidiaries.

3.4 Due Diligence Duty Pursuant to the Transparency Act

Enterprises subject to the Transparency Act are required to carry out due diligence to assess their impact on human and labour rights. The due diligence assessments shall cover the enterprisesʼ activities, supply chains, and other business partners relevant to the delivery of their products and services and they shall be proportional to the business size and nature of activities. The assessments are expected to be carried out regularly, with a risk-based approach. The due diligence requirement applies to the full extent of the enterprisesʼ operations and supply chains that take place in both Norway and in other countries.

The due diligence requirements are further detailed in six steps (§ 4(a)-(f)), including an obligation to implement policies and procedures and to assess actual and potential adverse impacts on fundamental human rights and decent working conditions caused or contributed to or directly linked with the operations, products or services via supply chains or business partners.

These six steps are based on the OECD Guidelines. It should be noted that the Transparency Act explicitly states that due diligence shall be carried out in accordance with the OECD Guidelines as amended or updated. The direct implementation of guidelines adopted by an intergovernmental organisation is not a common approach within Norwegian legislative tradition but was chosen to avoid the development of conflicting systems that would entail a double due diligence obligation for enterprises.

In order for enterprises to perform due diligence assessments correctly under the Transparency Act and in line with the OECD Guidelines, the enterprises will also have to keep updated on the OECD Guidelines as amended or updated and the various guidances related to them. This includes the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct and the sector guides that the OECD has prepared for various industries, such as agriculture and the extractive sector.

3.5 Duty to Account for Due Diligence

According to § 5 of the Transparency Act, enterprises have a duty to publish an account of their due diligence efforts. This duty to publish a report aims to ensure that information is made public, in line with the principles of the OECD Guidelines.

As a minimum requirement, enterprises shall report on:

  • their internal organisation, guidelines and procedures for managing actual and potential adverse impacts;

  • actual adverse impacts and significant risks of adverse impacts identified in the due diligence; and

  • information on measures identified or implemented to prevent adverse impacts or reduce risks of adverse impacts.

The Norwegian Consumer Authority promotes the advantages of publishing a more detailed report than what is required by law. To ensure compliance with the OECD Guidelines, enterprises could include information on their measures to ensure anti-corruption and fair competition, for example, as some of the additional matters covered by the OECD Guidelines compared to the Transparency Act.

The Transparency Act requires that the report is accessible on the enterprisesʼ websites, and that the enterprisesʼ annual report includes information on where the report can be found.

3.6 Duty to Provide Information Upon Request

Under § 6 of the Transparency Act, any person has the right to request information about how enterprises address actual and potential adverse impacts pursuant to the due diligence requirements. It is expressly stated that the right to information includes both general information and information relating to specific products or services offered by the enterprises.

Enterprises are required to respond to requests within three weeks. If it would be considered unreasonably burdensome to respond within three weeks due to the amount or type of information requested, the enterprise shall provide the response within two months.

Enterprises may in some cases deny a request for information. The Transparency Act determines that if the request does not provide sufficient basis for identifying what is requested, if the request is clearly unreasonable, or concerns information relating to an individualʼs personal affairs, operational and business matters which for competitive reasons are important to keep secret, the information request may be rejected.

4. Guidance, Enforcement and Sanctions Pursuant to the Transparency Act

4.1 The Role of the Norwegian Consumer Authority

The Consumer Authority is an independent administrative body responsible for supervising the market, enforcing consumer protection, and advising market participants on how to observe regulatory frameworks. It is tasked with monitoring enterprisesʼ compliance with the Transparency Act and may sanction non-compliance and violations of the act, hereunder the obligations set forth in sections 3.4 – 3.6.

4.2 Guidance, Monitoring, and the Negotiation Model

The Consumer Authority shall primarily ensure compliance with the Transparency Act by providing the enterprises with general information, advice, and guidance. If general guidance is not sufficient, the Consumer Authority should seek to achieve compliance through negotiations. This is referred to as the ‘negotiation modelʼ inspired by the scheme under the Marketing Control Act, whereunder the authorities should pursue compliance though the least intrusive means available. The negotiation model does not, however, include an absolute duty to seek a solution through advice and guidance. The Consumer Authority shall be able to implement sanctions without prior negotiations if the enterprises are expected to be familiar with the rules. At the same time, the Consumer Authority has stated that it will not implement sanctions before the enterprises have had an appropriate amount of time to comply with the Transparency Act.

4.3 Sanctions

The Consumer Authority may issue orders instructing enterprises to comply with the duties to carry out due diligence, account for due diligence, and provide information upon request, as established in §§ 4 to 7. Should the enterprise not comply with such order, the Consumer Authority may impose an enforcement penalty.

Enforcement penalties can also be imposed for non-compliance with an issued order requiring that unlawful conduct shall terminate (§ 9(3)), the duty to provide information to the Consumer Authority and the Market Council (§ 10) and breach of § 12 prohibitions and orders (§ 12). The enforcement penalty may be imposed as an ongoing daily charge or a lump sum.

In case of repeated infringements of the duty to account for due diligence (§ 5) or the duty to provide information upon request (§§ 6 and 7), infringement penalties may be imposed. An infringement penalty is considered an administrative sanction pursuant to the Norwegian Public Administration Act and is thus considered a penalty pursuant to the European Charter on Human Rights.

4.4 Effectiveness of the Transparency Act Compared to International Frameworks

Implementing hard law measures based on soft law guidelines to promote enterprisesʼ respect for fundamental human rights and decent working conditions is part of an international trend and unusual in Norwegian legislative technique. In this section, we take a closer look at certain aspects of the Transparency Act and discuss whether it is designed to fulfil its intended purpose.

4.5 Discussions on Appropriate Scope of the Transparency Act

The Transparency Act only applies to large enterprises as defined in § 1-5 of the Accounting Act or enterprises that reach thresholds related to turnover, sales revenue etc. Some have argued that the Transparency Act should have a broader scope of application, while others even proposed that all Norwegian enterprises should be required to comply with the Transparency Act. In contrast to the Transparency Act, the UNGP and OECD Guidelines apply to all multinational companies.

Aligning the scope of application with the definition of larger enterprises in the Accounting Act has certain benefits. For instance, such enterprises are required to report on social responsibility in their annual reports pursuant to § 3-3(c) of the Accounting Act which also requires reporting on the enterprisesʼ working environment, injuries and accidents, and equality and diversity. Those obligations may overlap with the reporting obligations under the Transparency Act.

It could be argued that extending the scope of application would promote the purpose of the Transparency Act. In any case, the Act will arguably have an indirect impact on a wider range of enterprises than the enterprises under its scope. It is expected that small and medium enterprises that conduct business with larger enterprises will be requested to account for their impact on human rights and working conditions as part of the larger enterprisesʼ efforts to fulfil their obligations pursuant to the Act.

Another issue concerns the topics covered by the Transparency Act. In this respect, the OECD Guidelines have a broad scope and include topics such as corruption, climate and the environment, taxation, science and technology and competition matters, in addition to the Transparency Actʼs core focus, human rights and decent working conditions. The proposed CSDD Directive also includes obligations related to environmental impacts, in addition to human rights and decent working conditions. Such additional topics covered by the OECD Guidelines were not part of the Norwegian Ethics Information Committeeʼs mandate and were not addressed in the legislative process.

It is likely that implementation of the CSDD Directive into Norwegian law would involve an extension of the scope of the Transparency Act to also include environmental issues. Considering the already existing duties of disclosure pursuant to legislation in, for example, the Environmental Information Act and the Production Control Act, the potential inclusion of new obligations in the Transparency Act reinforces the general concern of overlapping requirements in different legislative sources. To avoid an overly complex and redundant framework of legislation that enterprises must comply with, the legislator should carefully consider if existing Norwegian laws and regulations such as the Environmental Information Act and the Production Control Act should be mapped and reviewed to avoid widespread, overlapping and inconsistent requirements.

As other topics included in the OECD Guidelines are closely related to fundamental human rights and decent working conditions, a wider range of topics under the Transparency Act could also be included to avoid inconsistent obligations under the different regulations. The preparatory works to the Transparency Act state that other areas covered by the OECD Guidelines could be included in the scope of the Act in the planned evaluation of the Act.

4.6 No Duty to Provide Information to Enterprises Performing Due Diligence Obligations

Enterprises subject to the Transparency Act are required to obtain information from their operations including their subsidiaries, business partners and suppliers (the duty to perform due diligence). The Transparency Act does not, however, establish the reverse—in other words, a duty for subsidiaries, business partners and suppliers to provide information to their counterparts whilst fulfilling their due diligence obligations. Therefore, enterprises subject to the Transparency Act may encounter practical challenges when requesting information from entities not part of the corporate group, should such entities refuse to cooperate or provide the requested information.

In a corporate group, the parent company can require that a necessary contractual framework covering majority-owned subsidiaries for disclosing information is established. With regard to minority-owned subsidiaries and third parties, enterprises should consider negotiating contractual terms for fulfilment of their obligations under the Transparency Act. However, entities may not always succeed in such negotiations. Therefore, it could be argued that a duty to cooperate with enterprises performing their due diligence should be introduced in the Transparency Act.

The downside of such duty is that it could be difficult to define a practical scope of application. The effect is also uncertain as the obligation would only be applicable to entities under Norwegian jurisdiction, considering that many enterprisesʼ main risks of violations are associated with activities by foreign entities in high-risk countries.

4.7 The Extent of the Requirement to Provide Information Upon Request: Practical Issues

The Transparency Act includes a general obligation to provide information on how the enterprises address actual and potential adverse impacts, and to respond to specific questions about the products or services offered by the enterprises. A similar duty to provide information is included in the Norwegian Environmental Information Act, under which anyone may request information on Norwegian enterprisesʼ adverse impacts on the environment. Based on the experiences from the industry and from the complaints handled by the Norwegian Complaints Board for Environmental Information, a general observation regarding the Norwegian Environmental Information Act is that the questions received can be difficult and resource demanding to answer due to the broad scope of the information requested, and that the responses are not always specific or comprehensive enough.

The risk of a general duty to provide information upon request, is that enterprises in some circumstances may provide superficial responses due to the principle of proportionality. This means that due diligence should be adapted to the individual business, and as such, enterprises may prioritise their efforts based on different factors, including the severity and probability of any adverse impact. Upon request for information on a specific item, a response containing general information about the production of the item could be sufficient, should the enterprise prioritise other areas of greater concern and focus within its operations and consequently in the due diligence process.

An alternative regulation would be that the duty to provide information was limited to certain defined aspects of the operations, such as the working hours, payment rates and the applicable minimum age of employment of the workers at the enterprisesʼ production sites. Such detailed requirements could facilitate that the enterprises had obtained information considered important on an overall basis which could lead to more effective work with obtaining information and performing due diligence. This could also make it easier for journalists, organisations, consumers and others to compare information obtained from enterprises and make fair assessments of their work with human rights and working conditions.

The legislator decided that the benefits of a duty to provide information on the production sites were uncertain and may have an adverse economic and competitive impact on enterprises. Not implementing an obligation to provide information on the place of production may also be considered as a caution exercised to avoid differences between the Transparency Act and the OECD Guidelines. The legislator therefore determined to exclude the proposed obligation to provide information about the place of production under reference to the need for further legal assessments before such requirement could be implemented in the Transparency Act.

Are the means of enforcement under the Transparency Act sufficient to promote the respect for human rights and decent working conditions? The Consumer Authority may impose sanctions as means of enforcement of the obligations under the Transparency Act to conduct due diligence (§ 4 of the Transparency Act), account for due diligence (§ 5) and to provide information upon request (§§ 6 and 7).

Repeated violations of the duty to publish an account for due diligence and the duty to provide information upon request may be sanctioned by infringement penalties under § 14 of the Transparency Act. Infringement penalties can be imposed on the enterprise, or on a natural person for intentional or negligent violations.

Violations of the main obligation of the Transparency Act—to perform due diligence under § 4—may not be sanctioned by infringement penalties. The authorities can, however, issue an order to comply with § 4 and then impose enforcement penalties for non-compliance with such order.

It should be noted that the language of § 4 does not specifically include material requirements on the quality of the due diligence assessments, other than the reference to make them in accordance with the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The OECD Guidelines on the other hand include more detailed requirements on the due diligence assessments—for example that they are risk-based and proportionate to the size of the enterprise. The assumption is, however, that the Norwegian Consumer Authority is unable to sanction an enterprise for insubstantial or ineffective due diligence measures, as long as the assessment meets the abovementioned requirements of due diligence set out in § 4. The principle of legality would restrict a liberal interpretation of requirements that have not been explicitly included in the text of the Transparency Act.

As the purpose of the Transparency Act is to promote enterprisesʼ respect for fundamental human rights and decent working conditions, it could be argued that the Consumer Authority should have the power to sanction not only breach of the reporting obligations, but also insufficient due diligence efforts.

Factors for the assessment of the amount of such penalties including a maximum limit for infringement penalties have been set out in a regulation.

5. Conclusion

With the new Transparency Act, enterprises are required to consider how they may be involved in human rights violations in global value chains, which is a new legal requirement. As the Transparency Act recently entered into force, the effects are still uncertain, but will be reviewed after the act has been in force for some time. The main question is whether the increased requirements on transparency will lead to more knowledge about and improvements of working conditions in foreign supply chains of Norwegian enterprises, or if the increased due diligence and reporting requirements will be another formality only contributing with an increased workload for the affected enterprises.

The Transparency Act is structured as a dynamic law and will be subject to change based on national experiences and international developments. The expectation is that legislation aimed at holding corporations accountable for social responsibility issues will increase in the coming years as illustrated by ongoing international initiatives such as the proposed CSDD Directive.

  • 1
    International Trade Union Confederation, 2020 Global Rights Index. The Worldʼs Worst Countries for Workers (ITUC 2020).
  • 2
    The Norwegian Ethics Information Committeeʼs report Etikkinformasjonsutvalget, Åpenhet om leverandørkjeder. Forslag til lov om virksomheters åpenhet om leverandørkjeder, kunnskapsplikt og aktsomhetsvurderinger (2019) Part II Chapter 13 <www.regjeringen.no/no/dokumenter/apenhet-om-leverandorkjeder/id2680057/> last accessed 12 December 2023. All subsequent references to URLs were accessed on the same date.
  • 3
  • 4
    OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises 2011 <https://www.oecd.org/daf/inv/mne/48004323.pdf>. Note that the Guidelines were last updated in June 2023 (for the 2023 version, see <https://doi.org/10.1787/81f92357-en>), but the update does not introduce any significant changes for the purposes of the analysis in this article.
  • 5
    United Nations Guiding principles on business and human rights: implementing the United Nations 2011, HR/PUB/11/04 <www.ohchr.org/en/publications/reference-publications/guiding-principles-business-and-human-rights>.
  • 6
    Walkfree, Global data on slavery and related risks (2022) <www.walkfree.org/projects/business-and-investor-toolkit/#global-data-on-slavery-and-related-risks>; Walkfree, National and regional supply chain transparency and due diligence laws (2022) <www.walkfree.org/projects/business-and-investor-toolkit/#national-and-regional-supply-chain-transparency-and-due-diligence-laws>; Prop 150 L (2020-2021) Lov om virksomheters åpenhet og arbeid med grunnleggende menneskerettigheter og anstendige arbeidsforhold (åpenhetsloven) 21-25. For the United Kingdom, see the Modern Slavery Act 2015, available at <www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/30/contents/enacted>; for Australia, see the Modern Slavery Act 2018, available at <https://www.legislation.gov.au/C2018A00153/latest/text>; for France, see the Law on Duty of Care (LOI n° 2017-399 du 27 mars 2017 relative au devoir de vigilance des sociétés mères et des entreprises donneuses dʼordre) available at <www.legifrance.gouv.fr/jorf/id/JORFTEXT000034290626/>.
  • 7
    Commission Proposal for a Directive on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence and amending Directive (EU) 2019/1937 (COM/2022/71 final). The proposal was adopted by the European Commission 23 February 2022 and is currently being discussed at the European Parliament and the Council. It is uncertain when adoption could be expected.
  • 8
    Act relating to enterprisesʼ transparency and work on fundamental human rights and decent working conditions (Transparency Act) (LOV-2021-06-18-99 om virksomheters åpenhet og arbeid med grunnleggende menneskerettigheter og anstendige arbeidsforhold (åpenhetsloven)).
  • 9
    ibid § 1.
  • 10
    Prop 150 L (2020-2021) Lov om virksomheters åpenhet og arbeid med grunnleggende menneskerettigheter og anstendige arbeidsforhold (åpenhetsloven) [2021] 11-12.
  • 11
    The National Contact Point for Responsible Business Conduct Norway, Annual Report – Build Back Better. (E-1002 B/E March 2021) available at <https://files.nettsteder.regjeringen.no/wpuploads01/blogs.dir/263/files/2021/04/OECD_Kontaktpunkt_%C3%A5rsrapport-2020_UU_3.pdf>.
  • 12
    Prop 150 L (2020-2021) (n 10) 6; the Transparency Act (n 8) § 4.
  • 13
    The Human Rights Council endorsed the Guiding Principles in A/HRC/RES/17/4 Resolution 17/4 of 16 June 2011 Human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises available at <https://ap.ohchr.org/documents/dpage_e.aspx?si=A/HRC/RES/17/4>.
  • 14
    Regulation (EU) 2020/852 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 18 June 2020 on the establishment of a framework to facilitate sustainable investment, and amending Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 [2020] OJ L 198/13.
  • 15
    Directive (EU) 2022/2464 of the European Parliament and of the Council [2022] amending Regulation (EU) No 537/2014, Directive 2004/109/EC, Directive 2006/43/EC, Directive 2013/34/EU, as regards corporate sustainability reporting [2022] OJ L 322/15.
  • 16
    Regulation (EU) 2019/2088 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 November 2019 on sustainability-related disclosures in the financial services sector [2019] OJ L 317/1.
  • 17
    Regulation (EU) 2017/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017 laying down supply chain due diligence obligations for Union importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating from conflict-affected and high-risk areas [2017] OJ L 130/1.
  • 18
    Commission Proposal for a Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council on the making available on the Union market as well as export from the Union of certain commodities and products associated with deforestation and forest degradation and repealing Regulation (EU) No 995/2010 (COM/2021/706).
  • 19
    Regulation (EU) 2020/852 (n 14) Article 18.
  • 20
    Europalov, ‘Aktsomhetsdirektivet om bedrifters aktsomhet overfor bærekraft og menneskerettigheterʼ (Europalov 2023) <https://www.europalov.no/rettsakt/aktsomhetsdirektivet-om-bedrifters-aktsomhet-overfor-baerekraft-menneskerettigheter/id-30089>.
  • 21
    United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), World Investment Report 2013: Global Value Chains Investment and Trade for Development (United Nations 2013) 141-142; Mike Valente and Andrew Crane, ‘Public Responsibility and Private Enterprise in Developing Countriesʼ (2010) 5(3) California Management Review 53.
  • 22
    Norwegian Ethics Information Committeeʼs Report (n 2).
  • 23
  • 24
    Norwegian: Forbrukertilsynet.
  • 25
    See Transparency Act (n 8) § 3(b).
  • 26
    Prop 150 L (2020-2021) (n 10) 41.
  • 27
    Compare to Act on Public Procurement (LOV-2016-06-17-73 om offentlige anskaffelser (anskaffelsesloven))§ 5 for similar requirements applicable to public authorities and bodies.
  • 28
    Act relating to annual accounts etc (Accounting Act) (LOV-1998-07-17-56 om årsregnskap mv (regnskapsloven)).
  • 29
    The Accounting Act (n 28) defines ‘larger companiesʼ as, inter alia, public limited liability companies and issuers of shares, bonds and certain other financial instruments listed on a stock exchange or another regulated market, etc (§ 1-6).
  • 30
    Oslo Economics, Konsekvensutredning av forslag til åpenhetslov [2021] 18-20.
  • 31
    See Transparency Act (n 8) § 3(d) and (e) for definitions of ‘supply chainʼ and ‘business partnerʼ.
  • 32
    Prop 150 L (2020-2021) (n 10) 64, 108; Frode Elgesem, Karnov lovkommentar til åpenhetsloven i Lovdata Pro (2021) note 2 to § 4. For further details regarding the steps please refer to the OECD Guidelines.
  • 33
    Prop 150 L (2020-2021) (n 10) 64.
  • 34
    ibid 64, 107.
  • 35
    OECD/FAO, OECD-FAO Guidance for Responsible Agricultural Supply Chains (2016) available at <https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264251052-en>.
  • 36
    OECD, OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Meaningful Stakeholder Engagement in the Extractive Sector, (OECD Publishing 2017) available at <https://doi.org/10.1787/9789264252462-en>.
  • 37
    Act relating to the control of marketing and contract terms and conditions, etc (Marketing Control Act) (LOV-2009-01-09-2 Lov om kontroll med markedsføring og avtalevilkår mv. (markedsføringsloven)).
  • 38
    Prop 150 L (2020-2021) (n 10) 97.
  • 39
    Statement on the front page of the Consumer Authorityʼs website Forbrukertilsynet, ‘Åpenhetslovenʼ (Forbrukertilsynet.no, 8 December 2021) <www.forbrukertilsynet.no/apenhetsloven>.
  • 40
    The rule is structured to mirror § 40 of the Marketing Control Act and its respective practice which could be relevant under the Transparency Act: see Prop 150 L (2020-2021) (n 10) 97.
  • 41
    Norwegian: Markedsrådet.
  • 42
    Act on the procedure of public administration (the Public Administration Act) (LOV-1967-02-10 om behandlingsmåten i forvaltningssaker (forvaltningsloven)).
  • 43
    Act relating to the Right to Environmental Information and Public Participation in Decision-making Processes Relating to the Environment (the Environmental Information Act) (LOV-2003-05-09-31 om rett til miljøinformasjon og deltakelse i offentlige beslutningsprosesser av betydning for miljøet (miljøinformasjonsloven)) §§ 9 and 16 – 19.
  • 44
    Act relating to the Control of Products and Consumer Services (the Product Control Act) (LOV-1976-06-11-79 om kontroll med produkter og forbrukertjenester (forbrukerkontrolloven)).
  • 45
    Prop 150 L (2020-2021) (n 10) 43.
  • 46
    ibid 50.
  • 47
    See the Norwegian Environmental Information Act (n 43) § 16.
  • 48
    Norwegian: Klagenemnda for miljøinformasjon.
  • 49
    The Norwegian Ethics Information Committeeʼs Report (n 2) 166.
  • 50
    Prop 150 L (2020-2021) (n 10) 86.
  • 51
    Regulation on the assessment of enforcement penalties and infringement penalties (FOR-2023-02-14-193 Forskrift om utmåling av tvangsmulkt og overtredelsesgebyr).
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